Friday, August 11, 2006

Aguas Calientes to Cuzco.

The bus from Machu Picchu deposited me back near the original pickup point in Aguas Calientes. It was a beautiful day and a bit too early for lunch so I thought I would do a quick walk around town - to catch some final views before leaving. The picture on the top is a view of the town taken from a bridge that crosses over the Urubamba River which runs through the town - I'm looking up river. The picture on the bottom is taken from the same bridge and is of the tented roofs of the stalls that make up the handicrafts market.



Standing on the same bridge and looking down river, I spotted a group of men that were chiseling and hammering on large rocks in the river. It appeared to me that they were making building stones....as their ancestors had done centuries ago.



I eventually made my way to a restaurant serving typical Peruvian fare and ordered a bowl of Sopa de Quinoa, a Papa Rellena and a bottle of Sprite. I ordered and headed to the ladies room. On my way, I spotted the door to the kitchen. I entered and asked if I could watch them make my lunch. The two cooks kindly obliged and it was interesting watching what went into the makings of both the soup and the rellena - pretty simple, straightforward food made with fresh ingredients.

It didn't take long for the food to be cooked so I headed back to the table and savored every spoonful of the soup and every bite of the rellena - there's something very satisfying about warm soup and mashed potatoes!



After lunch, I headed to the Pachamamma Restaurant which was the rendezvous point. The Stelzers were already there, eating their lunch. Shortly after that, Kim and Andrea arrived and then Simon appeared. I captured this last photo of the group.



When I was in Cuzco, I was updating the blog and Kyle happened to walk by. I told him what I was doing and that the name of the blog was "whereisjulee.blogspot.com". I guess the name of the blog is a little bit unusual. Susie decided to pen an answer and Carson held it up so I could take a photo.



After lunch, we boarded the train. This time, we rode on the BackPacker which was filled with....you guessed it, backpackers. As the train pulled away, I snapped this last photo of Aguas Caliente.



Two hours later, we arrived into Ollantaytambo and piled ourselves and luggage into a mini-van. I clamored onto the back bench sit, opened up the window and leaned back to listen to the chatter. Kyle asking his dad for "out of the box" game ideas to dress up his dorm room. Greg worried about whether or not Kyle would get any studying done if the dorm room was "party central". Andrea and Kim talking with Susie about the trials and tribulations of being single. Simon was quiet sitting in the front passenger seat.

A few miles down the road, the mini-van stopped outside a house. From the red plastic flag that hung, I could tell that it was a house that had chicha (maize) beer for sale.



Simon had promised that he would take us to a place where we could place the "frog game" which I found out later is called "Juego de Sapo". Here's a link to a website that describes the rules of the game - http://www.sapomiami.com/reglamento_ingles.htm
Simon gave us a brief demo of what we suppose to do and then we each took turns tossing tokens. Surprisingly, I didn't do bad - scoring 5500 points with 3 of 11 tokens tossed.


We then went inside one of the houses and those of us who dared, sampled a small amount of the chicha beer. I didn't think it tasted bad.....add a bit of sugar, continue to ferment, distill and you would end up with what is sold in Appalachia as "moonshine".

Carson and Riley had been dying to see guinea pigs and Simon asked our hostess if they could see the ones that she had in her home. Boys being boys, they asked if they could hold the guinea pig and with firm instructions on how to do so, each took their turn. I promised the boys that I would post their photos on my blog so here they are.


Our hosts also had a Peruvian top which they wound up and spun to show the boys. It was far easier to spin the top than it looked and our host and hostess were grinning watching the boys struggle to make the top spin. Eventually, everyone gave up trying.



After thanking our host and hostess, we all piled back into the mini-van and continued down the road. I once again leaned back in my seat and listed to the chatter.

By the time we pulled into Cuzco, it was night. We checked back into the hotel and everyone was exhausted - I don't remember anyone even eating dinner that night. I did my usual nightly routine, curled up with a book and went to sleep.